Their perceptual and motor experiences determine the physical and motor development of children, and impact also on their emotional, psychosocial, and cognitive development. Our aim, therefore, was to evaluate motor development in children with congenitally malformed hearts compared to their healthy peers.
We compared 194 children, with a mean age of 10.0 years, and standard deviation of 2.7 years, representing the entire spectrum of congenital cardiac disease, to a control group of 455 healthy children, having a mean age 9.6 years, with standard deviation of 2.17 years. The bodily coordination test for children was used to examine motor development.
Of the children with congenitally malformed hearts, 26.8% showed moderate, and 31.9% had severe disturbances of motor development, compared to 16.5% and 5.5% of the control group, the p-value for these differences being less than 0.001. The mean motor quotient adjusted for age and gender was lower in the children with congenitally malformed hearts than in their healthy peers, at 79.6, with standard deviation of 18.9 as opposed to 96.6, with standard deviation of 15, this difference having a p-value of less than 0.001. Depending on the presence, and/or the degree, of residual sequels, the children with congenitally malformed hearts were divided into two subgroups, with either no or mild residual sequels, or with significant sequels. The mean motor quotient was lower in those with significant residual sequels, at 75, with standard deviation of 19.3, as opposed to 83, with standard deviation of 17.9, the p-value for this difference being less than 0.01. In both subgroups, the mean motor quotient was lower, with a p-value of less than 0.01, than in the control group.
Our findings show that children with congenitally malformed hearts have deficits in their motor development, these being found in the presence of no or mild sequels, as well as with significant residual sequels. Parental overprotection may contribute to these findings.